Cal-Expo is sad to report the deaths of former announcer Joe Alto, 78, who died on May 26 in Buffalo, New York, and horse owner Ron Lingle, who passed away at 67 at his home in Minnesota last Saturday (May 28)
Alto was a track announcer for 40 years, plying his trade at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs in New York before coming west and handling the duties at Hollywood Park, Los Alamitos and Cal-Expo. He called both the harness horses and thoroughbreds at Cal-Expo during the state fair and was known for such signature calls as 'You better take a look at' and 'They’re coming home now!'
“He was a friend who loved horse racing and sports in general,” said Cal-Expo Director of Racing Dave Elliott. “We would go on for hours with our opinions about football, baseball, boxing and basketball, and Joe loved the NCAA tournament. We shared many stories and laughed a lot.”
Trackman Marty Bridges also considered Joe a good friend.
“He was a one of a kind announcer and one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, on or off the racetrack.”
Alto is survived by his children, Jolene and Rene, and three grandchildren.
Lingle is survived by his wife, Kathy; daughter, Laci; sons, Matt, Ronny, Luke and Jacob; and seven grandchildren.
Frank Petrelli, who trained for Lingle, was high in his praise of the owner/breeder.
“He was one of the nicest and best owners I’ve ever had the pleasure to train for,” Petrelli said. “It was more than just business, he was family, and he loved the horses. His wife told me that over the last six months, watching the races was one of the things that kept him going.”
Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Joe Alto and Ron Lingle.